15 February 2013

Tanzania: Parliament Enjoys Trust of Most Tanzanians - Survey

MOST Tanzanians have confidence with the capability of their Parliament and wish to see its members leading the constitutional review process.

In the same vein, most Tanzanians 'do not have trust in political parties'. According to the findings of an Afro Barometer survey conducted by Research on Poverty Alleviation (Repoa) and Ghana based Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), 40 per cent trust the legislature to lead the process while only six per cent approved political parties dominance.

"This survey was carried out between May and June 2012 and interviewed 2,400 adult Tanzanians," said Repoa researcher, Constantine Manda. Mr Manda also said that President Jakaya Kikwete came in second with 25 per cent wanting him to lead the process.

Mr Manda said that 83 per cent of those interviewed were also supportive of the need to review the constitution but opposed any attempts to dissolve the Union. "The majority of Tanzanians want the Union to stay although Civic United Front (CUF) members are strongly against it," Mr Manda said.

He said that most of the interviewees said they want more autonomy granted to Zanzibar within the Union. The survey also established that 54 per cent want Cabinet ministers to be appointed outside Parliament while 44 per cent opposed the idea. "The majority of the respondents also back the presidency to remain a two five-year term limitation," Mr Manda pointed out as some civil society leaders challenged the nature of questions asked by the researchers.

"May be you need to involve more people from different social settings during the designing of survey stories to get a bigger picture of what the people really want," argued Constitutional Forum Executive Director, Deus Kibamba. Mr Kibamba advised the researchers to avoid asking unnecessary questions like whether Tanzanians were supporting the process of constitutional review because it was obvious that the government had already decided to do so because of public demand.

"For example, a much more convenient question relating to the constitution should have been whether people want another review or a completely new constitution," argued Mr Kibamba, who advised the researchers to present their findings to the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC).

He also questioned the sample used in the survey to interpret it as fairly representing views of the majority Tanzanians but Nairobi-based Afro Barometer Programme Manager, Mr Abel Oyule, argued that in the world of statistics the 2,400 sample for over 44 million people was acceptable.

"In sampling what is important is to ensure a fair representation of the different interest groups picked randomly with a margin of error of between + 2 per cent at 95 per cent confidence level," argued Mr Oyule who, however, concurred with Kibamba that survey results will be presented to all relevant institutions including the CRC.

Ghana-based CDD undertook the fifth round of Afro Barometer survey. The CDD has since 1999 undertook the surveys in collaboration with Institute for Democracy in Africa of South Africa, Institute of Development Studies of Kenya and Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy of Benin.

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